St. Stephen’s Cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral located in the heart of Vienna, Austria. It is the mother church of the Archdiocese of Vienna as well as the seat of the Archdiocese in the city. It is considered as the most important religious building in the city, having borne witness to some of the most important events in the nation’s history. It is also one of the most recognizable landmarks in Vienna for its multi-colored tile roof.
St. Stephen’s Cathedral History
St. Stephen’s Cathedral traces its origins way back in 1137, where the cathedral was first founded. The site of the cathedral has also been the site of two earlier churches over time. In 1147, a partially-constructed Romanesque church was dedicated to St. Stephen. The first structure was eventually completed in 1160.
Major reconstruction and expansion work for the church lasted until 1511. In 1258, a great fire destroyed much of the structure, requiring much of it to be rebuilt with a replacement structure that also followed the Romanesque style of the previous church and reusing its two towers. In 1945, the war saw the cathedral damaged extensively that caused its roof to collapse. Rebuilding was done immediately to the cathedral, which saw it completed once again by April of 1952.
St. Stephen’s Cathedral Features
The St. Stephen’s Cathedral is built mainly out of limestone. It is 107 meters or 350 feet long, 40 meters or 131 feet wide and stands, 136 meters or 445 feet tall. The cathedral was originally white but soot and other forms of pollution over the centuries have made it black. Current restoration projects have once again given the building its white color.
The cathedral features a massive south tower that is also its highest point. Standing 136 meters or 445 feet tall, it is the dominant feature of the church. In the north, the cathedral has an unfinished tower that was initally planned to be as tall as the south tower. The tower remained unfinished and was instead augmented with a renaissance cap, with the tower now standing 68 meters or 233 feet tall.
One of the more popular features of the cathedral is its roof. It comprises of an ornately patterned and richly colored tile roof that extends 111 meters or 361 feet long. It is made up of around 230,000 glazed tiles that were designed as mosaics.